Monday, January 16, 2006

Anatomy of a golf course

Golf is played on a tract of land designated as "the course". The course consists of a series of "holes." The "hole" means both the hole in the ground into which the ball is played, as well as the total distance from the tee (a pre-determinied area from where a ball is first hit) to the green (the area surrounding the actual hole in the ground). Most golf courses consist of 9 or 18 holes. (The "nineteenth hole" is the colloquial term for the bar at a club house). After the player first hits, or "strokes," the ball, he continues to do so from the fairway (where the grass is cut so low that most balls can be easily played) or from the rough (grass which is cut much longer than fairway grass, or which may be uncut) until the ball comes to rest in the hole in the ground. When the player strokes the ball, and it comes to rest in the hole, he has completed play on that hole. Skilled players require fewer strokes to hit the ball into the hole.
Many holes include hazards, namely bunkers (or sand traps), from which the ball is more difficult to play than from grass, and water hazards (lakes, ponds, rivers, etc.). Special rules apply to playing balls that come to rest in a hazard, which make it highly undesirable to play a ball into one. For example, a player must not touch the ground in a hazard with a club prior to playing a ball, not even for a practice swing. A ball in a water hazard may be played as it lies or may be replaced by dropping another ball outside the water, but a penalty is incurred in the latter case.
The grass of the putting green is cut very short so that a ball can roll easily over distances of several metres or yards. "To putt" means to play a stroke, usually but not always on the green, where the ball does not leave the ground. The direction of growth of individual blades of grass affects the roll of a golf ball and is called the grain. The hole must have a diameter of 108 mm and a depth of at least 100 mm. Its position on the green is not static and may be changed from day to day. This hole on the green has a flag on a pole positioned in it so that it may be seen from some distance, but not necessarily from the tee. This flag is often called "the pin".
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1 comment:

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